Scientists used adult skin or blood cell samples to create the first fully functional miniature human heart in history. It not only can beat, but also has all the main cardiac muscle cells, chambers and blood vessel tissues required for the normal functioning of the heart. .
These heart organoids are created through a new stem cell framework that mimics the developmental environment of embryos and fetuses. Scientists first take skin or blood cell samples from adults, and then reprogram them into induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs), which can differentiate into cells and even organs.
In the past, they have been used to create miniature human organs, such as kidneys, liver, lungs, blood vessels and even the brain. Now the University of Michigan team has put the research and development goal on the heart. Since the acquisition of stem cells is subject to the consent of the subjects, there are no ethical concerns, which is very different from previous experiments using controversial embryonic stem cells.
Specific Functions of the Mini-heart
Host Dr. Erit Agill said that these miniature hearts constitute an incredibly powerful model that can accurately study various heart diseases. This process allows stem cells to develop, basically just like in embryos, to develop into various cell types and structures that exist in the heart. We have given instructions to stem cells to induce them to make human-like heart organoids (hHOs).
The research team says that the micro-hearts grown in the laboratory can help closely track the initial development of the human heart. On the sixth day they began to beat, and on the fifteenth day they had grown into a sphere about 1 cm wide with a complicated internal chamber. They also contain all major heart cell types.
The Future Prospects of Artificial Hearts
In the previous research on mini-hearts, scientists mostly used rat cells to mix human cells to make a rat heart with human cells. This not only involves humane moral issues, but also is not a real human heart. Today's methods are faster and are also real human organs.
Even though there is still a gap between micro-hearts and real human hearts, Dr. Agir and his team are still very excited about the wide applicability of these micro-hearts, saying that they have considerable potential and can be used for research and development in the future. Cardiovascular-related diseases, such as heart disease caused by chemotherapy, the influence of gestational diabetes on fetal heart development, etc.
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